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Anatomy for Dental Students$
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Martin E. Atkinson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199234462

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199234462.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

The structure of the central nervous system

The structure of the central nervous system

(p.113) 15 The structure of the central nervous system
Anatomy for Dental Students

Martin E. Atkinson

Oxford University Press

It is important to have a picture of the relationship of the brain and spinal cord to the bones of the skull and vertebral column that house and protect them and the protective layers of connective tissues known as the meninges that cover the CNS; these lie between the bones and brain and spinal cord. The brain is housed within the skull which will be described in much more detail in Section 4. As you can appreciate by feeling your own skull, the top, front, sides, and back are smoothly curved. The surface of the brain is similarly curved and conforms to the shape of the bones. Note that, in reality, it is really the other way round—brain shape determines the shape of the bones of the skull vault forming the braincase. If the top of the braincase and the brain are removed to reveal the floor of the cranial cavity formed by the bones of the cranial base, it is anything but smooth. Viewed from the lateral aspect and going from anterior to posterior, it is like three descending steps. This structure is shown diagrammatically in Figure 15.1 and shows how different parts of the brain conform to these steps. The first step lies above the nasal and orbital cavities and is known as the anterior cranial fossa ; it houses the frontal lobes of the cerebral hemispheres. The second step is the middle cranial fossa and contains the temporal lobes of each cerebral hemisphere laterally and the midbrain and pons medially. The final step is the posterior cranial fossa where the rest of the brainstem and cerebellum lie. The floor of the posterior fossa is pierced by the foramen magnum through which the medulla oblongata and spinal cord become continuous. The spinal cord occupies the vertebral canal running in the vertebral column. As you can see in Figure 3.5, in adults, the cord occupies the vertebral canal from the upper border of the first cervical vertebra, the atlas, down to the level of the disc between the first and second lumbar vertebrae.

Keywords:   adenohypophysis, basal cisterns, calcarine sulcus, diencephalon, epidural injections, falx cerebelli, genu, hippocampal formation, inferior peduncles, language

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